From Fly on the Wall

Excerpt from Fly on the Wall by Jason Brink / Illustrated by Jim Westergard
ISBN: 1550228161 / (ECW Press, 2008)

The Jail Visit

The fly flits against the glass partition separating the little girl from the convict.

The convict picks up the telephone receiver on his side and motions for the little girl to do the same. The fly lands on her receiver as she puts it to her ear.

“Where’s your mom?” he asks.

“Waiting in the car.”

“She’s mad at me, isn’t she? Did she get my message?”

The little girl shrugs.

“I need you to do me a favour, squirt. When you get home I need you to go out to the woodpile
behind the garage and get the thermos tucked behind the biggest log at the bottom right hand corner. You know your right from left?”

The little girl nods.

“Show me.”

She lifts her right hand. The convict smiles.

“Okay, you’re gonna take the thermos over to Uncle Jack’s and tell him to bail me out, okay?”

The little girl smiles.

“Uncle Jack and Mommy already found the thermos. Uncle Jack says when they get back from Las Vegas we can live with him and I can get a budgie. Can I keep the thermos, or do you want me to put it back behind the woodpile?”


The Falcon

The fly straddles the beak of the peregrine falcon perched on the fence outside the barn.

A monotone, scholarly voice lectures from the ghetto blaster on top of a nearby fencepost:
Prior to flight it is imperative that you find and retain access to a suitable and reasonably convenient area for flying your raptor. Accipiters, also known as short-winged hawks, should be flown in the enclosed wooded areas that comprise their natural habitat, while falcons, or long-winged hawks, require open space, no less than one mile across, where they may be flown from a position high over the falconer. Once again, apprentice falconers are strongly advised not to attempt a hunt without the direct supervision of their sponsor or a certified master falconer. That concludes lesson four: “Establishing an Effective Training Regiment and Work Area for Your Raptor.”
Now that you’ve successfully leashed and tethered your raptor, and introduced him or her to their intended work area you’re 10 ready for lesson five: “Prepping Your Raptor for Flight, the Stoop and the Kill.” When you’re ready, please insert lesson five into your player and we’ll begin. In the meantime . . . happy hawking!
As the lesson ends, the falcon shifts its weight to its bare leg, then shakes the bell strapped above its anklet on the other leg.

On the ground below, still holding the leather leash and the other bell, lies the dead falconer, one eye shredded recklessly from its socket and his jugular drained by a single talon slash.

The fly leaves though the falcon remains perched on the fence and the instructional CD loops back to the beginning.
Hello, and welcome to lesson four. . . .

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